23 November 2022

Magic Breakfast and Arla host MP Breakfast Meeting with a twist

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Written by Magic Breakfast Team

Home > What we do > News and views > Magic Breakfast and Arla host MP Breakfast Meeting with a twist

As the latest initiative in our long-term partnership with Arla, yesterday we invited MPs to our ‘No Breakfast, Breakfast Meeting’ sponsored by MP David Mundell at the House of Commons. 

With the latest figures from The Food Foundation revealing that a devastating four million* children in the UK are living in homes struggling with food insecurity, it’s never been more vital to raise awareness amongst MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum to highlight the impacts of morning hunger in children by giving political participants a glimpse into the realities and effects this can have on our bodies and minds.  

Half the MPs were told to eat breakfast and the rest told not to – demonstrating how millions of children across the UK experience food insecurity and as a result arrive at school too hungry to learn. Guests were then challenged with performing a series of cognitive tasks, giving them a glimpse into the physical, social, and emotional impact of missing out on a breakfast. 

The results of the challenges, designed by behavioural science expert, Dr Simon Moore, revealed that those deprived of breakfast were up to 80% more likely to fail the tasks, such as the buzz wire challenge and stoop tests.    

Unsurprisingly, those who hadn’t eaten since the night before complained they found it ‘difficult to concentrate,’ and hard to ‘fully engage with others attending’ because they were simply ‘too hungry’ or ‘distracted by their rumbling stomach’. 

After feeling the effects of going hungry, 100% of those attending the ‘No Breakfast, Breakfast Meeting’ agreed to put their weight behind a new commitment to Back Breakfast.   

Dr Simon Moore, Behavioural Science Expert, said:

When solely considering adult behaviour, the effects that a continued lack of breakfast has can severely impact cognitive, social and physical functioning.  However, when shifting this focus to a much younger development group, I.e. children, the effects also have huge impacts on growth, social interaction and have been shown to provide a barrier to positive and effective learning experiences.    

Magic Breakfast’s CEO, Lindsey Macdonald, who was also in attendance, said:

A hungry child cannot learn but millions of children and young people across the UK risk starting their school day without a breakfast.  With the deepening cost of living crisis plunging ever-increasing numbers of children into food insecurity, this is a moment of national emergency, and now is the time for immediate change.   

With our valued partner, Arla, the ‘No Breakfast, Breakfast Meeting’ is helping us raise the issue of child morning hunger with those who can effect real change.  We know going to school hungry is a proven barrier to healthy mental and physical development and significantly impacts learning, but there is also a clear solution.  A free school breakfast is a cost-effective investment in our children’s learning with immediate and long-term benefits to society – that’s why we call for the Government to act and ensure free school breakfasts are offered to all children who need it most. 

Rachel Campbell, Arla Brand and Sustainability Director, said:

No child should ever have to start the day hungry and with the number of children facing morning hunger only set to increase with the ongoing rise in living costs, it is essential urgent action is taken. That’s why we’ve joined forces with those in power, to raise awareness of the issue and to back the provision of free breakfast for children who need it the most, so every child can start each day with the essential nutrients needed to grow and fuel learning. 

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4 January 2024

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